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Virginia 72, Pakistan 25, Washington 16, Nato 12, Syria 12, America 11, United States 9, U.s. 7, Taliban 6, India 6, Markell 5, Assad 5, Jay 4, U.n. 4, Al Qaeda 4, Jack Lew 4, Clinton 4, Hagel 4, Bob Mcdonnell 3, Mcconnell 3,
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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    January 9, 2013
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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training and support of the army, which ambassador kahn objects to india's role in it. can you comment on afghanistan's role in it? >> i would like to talk about nato patrol, longer term. -- nato's when the recruitment process started and the security situation was not as challenging as it is today, a lot of the people and listed from the provinces many from the south and north, and some of the leadership of the ministry of defense belong to the people of the north. in the beginning there was some imbalances and the composition and formation of the ministry of defense in the afghan security forces. there is a system in place and
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extensive efforts to recruit from the provinces of the south. some of these efforts are successful. as you can imagine if you put yourself as chairman in afghanistan, if you enlist as an afghan, you face different levels of [inaudible] the province is quiet. the taliban are not operating. there's less threat against you and your family. therefore despite the inferences being made, we still have challenges to recruit a member -- members of the security forces from those provinces. we purposely go and try to recruit students from the south or places [indiscernible] since the school system was not to this standard, i does not matter. we're not successful to bring them as much as we want.
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>> do you want to talk about these issues? >> in terms of who revises the afghan national army, in 2001, we had a plethora of offers. the pakistani, the indian, and the iranian fradkin to me and said it wanted to collaborate. i thought that we ought to try to devise some arrangement in which i and some limited aspects, countries could participate. others in the administration were opposed to any iranian role. relations between pakistan and india were at a nadir. coins and with 9/11 and the subsequent bond process, a
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pakistani base -- terrorist group had conducted a large- scale terrorist attack on the indian parliament. the countries were close to war. very close to war. the idea that they would collaborate in some joint venture in afghanistan was more difficult to conceive then that might be now. relations have to some degree improved. i do not think that india and pakistan between them would be able to substitute for the kind of assistance -- [indiscernible] for some time to come. to the extent the country's -- countries could agree on some form of joint collaboration, i would not oppose it. but neither would i look to it
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to shoulder much of the load in the short to medium term. >> from rote. -- front row. >> i write the mitchell reports and also councilmember. fassel -- i wanted to ask the ambassador about his observations about cost and risk. and to do that in the context of american domestic political setting, just to say that 2014 is not just another year. it is midterms. i wonder if there is a way, if you have done this or could articulate what the risks that you talk about are, and to the extent that it is doable.
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some sense of risk investment ratioso that people can get some more specificity than saying there is this relationship between risk and cost. it is to delineate what those risks might be and i in round numbers investments on our resources could be to deal with those. longerl one is we're no able to mount operations that suppress terrorist activity in pakistan or afghanistan. employing drones and other forms of counter terrorist strikes. that we can do that only as long as we have a complaint government that is prepared to -- for that purpose it is not
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something we can do from aircraft carriers in the indian ocean. it is not something we will do from uzbekistan. if we do not have a government in kabul is cooperative, those kinds of activities will go way and the abilities -- ability to suppress groups that are prepared and would like to target the united states and american allies around the world would be degraded. that is a risk one. the second level of risk is if you could return to a situation in which those kinds of terrorists were able to operate not clandestinely within a state which has weak capacity to suppress them but in a state that is actively collaborating and is prepared to put its facilities at their disposal. before 9/11, al qaeda hijacked a
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state. they hijacked afghanistan. afghanistan was alive. that is different from its relationship with pakistan or yemen or somalia. where they operate essentially either in an area with no state or in a state that is hostile to them. but isn't capable of suppressing them to the degree we would like. operating within a state that is actively compliant, obviously, considerably expands their capacity to plan and mount large-scale terrorist operations as we found in september 2001. the worst of all situations is the taliban remain linked to al qaeda and they come back and govern the country. that is something -- the risk of that i do not put that very high. i do not put the cost of reducing that risk further very high, either. if there is as 5% but you could
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reduce it by spending $4 billion a year, i would argue that is worth $4 billion. other people i would argue what did 9/11 cost us? we could lose a couple of buildings every decade. and a few thousand citizens rather than losing much larger amounts of money. they will come to a different risk calculations. i do not know if you can reduce this to x% risk and a certain amount of dollars. >> i want to make one comment. there is this concern that a television type might [indiscernible] to my mind there is no such possibility. afghanistan has changed and the
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investor had mentioned how the preoccupations have changed. i have not been a frequent visitor but i have seen them in the taliban days and i was last year in afghanistan. the activity that is going on, there is a resilience now. which will not allow the taliban to return. the taliban, the country was hijacked by al qaeda. the government was completely ostracized. there was not a single government except pakistan. it was living in a time warp. therefore, it was possible for al qaeda to be the master of taliban leadership [indiscernible] i do not think that kind of situation is able to return.
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now that the world is focused on afghanistan. >> i would prepare to spend a few billion dollars to make sure. >> thank you. i work for voice of america. thanks for the discussion and insight. the first question is the presence of the u.s. troops. there is a possibility that came out yesterday, how will be perceived in pakistan and you're trying to reject the taliban government. where did you see them, on the
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mountains or on the streets of kabul? we do not see a better political setup in afghanistan from that side. where do you see them, then? thank you. >> the first question about how well pakistan -- will pakistan see the continued u.s. presence, there is one pakistan government and my anticipation is there will except the agreement at the u.s. government. this is basically a problem between these two governments. pakistan is not a monolith. there is all kinds of spectrums in pakistan.
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i think also -- who believe the presence of foreign troops is also the sustaining argument of the militants. they must continue as long as the foreign forces are there. and therefore as i had said, there would be this perception that the continuation may also mean the continuation of these kinds of activities. the counter argument that these activities must stop may be weakened. these are various groups, various parties who have those kinds of views. i anticipate that the government will be accepting.
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the other thing is where the taliban if they're not here? do not say that they're only in pakistan. in paris there has been a taliban representation. the taliban as part of the political landscape. this is basically something that should be done by the peace council. pakistan gets involved and your will say that there's a classic but, i read it a long time ago. i off and on read it. to remind myself how intertwined is the history and culture and tradition and demographic of these countries. sometimes our problems become
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your problems and your problems become our problems. >> do you want to comment on that? >> on the question i think in the contacts that take place between the pakistani army and the government, the army position is -- [indiscernible] they have bigger plans and other intentions. in the private meeting that is where the position is. the smaller u.s. presence probably will come. there might be concerned. as the ambassador indicated, there are many other forces in pakistan that may have concern about the impact of the duration of security in afghanistan which leads into [indiscernible] in pakistan. in the past in the private meetings, the idea was we're not sure when the attention is focused on afghanistan and
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pakistan started out with themselves and help to get the americans out of here. >> my question is for the ambassador. it is the follow-up to the previous question. in your remarks, pakistan still pursues a policy of strategic [indiscernible] in afghanistan. with that in mind, you also mentioned there is some unrealistic expectations from afghanistan and the united states with respect to pakistan's future role in reaching out to some of the taliban, especially the taliban leadership. it props up against u.s. and afghan forces in afghanistan. you said there are some limitations.
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what are those limitations? >> the limitation is what i had mentioned. we should not be expected to deliver the taliban leadership to a position that maybe will -- you may be wanting them to take. that would not be possible for us. i said that we have quite an experience of interacting with [indiscernible] and they never agreed to pakistan's point of view. this applied to the leadership and the taliban themselves. when they were rolling afghanistan. to expect that pakistan should be able to make them except, for example, the renne constitution, we will not be able to do that.
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this will be between the harpies council and the taliban and how the taliban are dealt with. this is for iran. they are debilitated and this is the way to proceed toward reconciliation. [indiscernible] that is for the renne leadership. pakistan should not be expected -- we encourage them to be part of the process. we are trying to do probably now, we should do that. the other thing he mentioned about this strategy? -- depth, they have no chance of
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getting in a government controlling of afghanistan. in the -- even in the 1990's when they were strong. now the relationship has completely changed. how can there be -- it does not work out and this was never a policy. we never saw them. we did not go after them. we did not count them likely how did al qaeda. almost all the guantanamo bay detainees were captured in pakistan with the help of the pakistani. we treated them differently. as we mentioned, we wanted them to be part of the process in beginning.
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the strategy depth, it was in nonsensical idea. he did not explain it. afterward there had been a retreat but there has never been -- this phrase has never been part of the policy statement ever. this has been very catchy and all that has come about, pakistan is seeking strategy dabs. how can we seek a strategy depth when the security threat is through india. >> my question relates to any joke. apart from the regular
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discussion nato has on withdrawal, the new mission post 2014, there is a great deal of effort into trying to push regional cooperation post-2014. this has proven to be rather difficult, engaging central asians and figuring out a role for russia. i was wondering from the three panelists whether you see some role for nato, some value added to push the regional cooperation through partnership policies. whether that is something that would be useful. thank you. >> there have been a number of summits and high-level meetings over the last couple of years that have established a rhetorical from work and also a framework for support for conciliation. i think that is helpful. i think it is worth continuing
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to push in this regard. there has been some improvement in relations between india and pakistan. the border has been open to commerce in a way it was not before. these are fairly important elements. nato is a political role is of somewhat limited importance in terms of its influence. it certainly is worth pursuing. >> would pakistan sea of positive role? >> [indiscernible] what is the role that neda sees for itself? is that military when we talk about nato? is it economic? is it political? nato does not appear to wear so many hats. when we talk about nato, we're
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talking about military. that has already been discussed but certainly other organizations, everyone has an important political and economic role. i think nato can also help support the iraq army to do a better job. we're in favor of that. there was one mention about india and the transit train. that will come at a certain point. there are some things if only the conflict situation gets resolved in afghanistan. >> your question was on the role in northern afghanistan. this is a key important way of connecting afghanistan to the
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rest of the world. that is important for us to reduce dependency on other transit trials that are becoming important in afghanistan. definitely nato countries have a more important role to play then nato as an organization. a lot of activity about nato activity is an organization in central asia. they do -- if the rules are conducted like a government of france or germany, or other allies, it is more effective. the vehicle should be different because they have influence and they can help out by connecting afghanistan to the rest of the world. when the route was to terman, the call that the no. distribution network. my favorite term as the silk road. this is reviving its traditional
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role. >> i am with the embassy here. i have a question to the ambassador regarding economic development. it seems to be extremely important. fighting [indiscernible] in afghanistan and in the region. this aspect will affect the economic transition for and development and the eventual successful outcome. could you talk about what is the current state of affairs as far as what tools are being employed and how do you see this as being successfully battled for the future economic development in afghanistan? thank you.
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>> the interment of the -- environment of the narcotrafficker forces in uncertainty. when they raise an orchard or vineyard and turns it into a poppy field -- when he is not sure what is learned happened to him or his family, they turn to narcotics. it takes three months to grow it. it does not need refrigeration or economic integration, nothing. if we see an increased degree of uncertainty, we would probably see more poppy cultivation. it would be listed economic activities. -- illicit economic activities. the leadership [indiscernible] in the areas where the economy
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is thriving, we have seen a reduction of narcotics and cultivation of the poppy. in areas where we see most of the fighting, that is where most of the poppies are grown. >> let me close with a final question. jim used a number of statistics. one that struck me is i have the right to a 52% of the afghan population thought the country is going on in the right direction. my question to each of you, what is your view? is the country going in the right direction and are you optimistic or pessimistic as we look forward for the next two years and after 2014? >> if you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there. the country is going in the right direction compared to where we started certainly.
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people feel more confident about the way their life is conducted. also as i mentioned, there has to be a bit of a relation [indiscernible] in the region. >> i also agree and the statistics were new to me. it is heartening that 52% of people in afghanistan feel the country is going in the right direction. i do not know the figures for pakistan. one other thing. some of the preoccupations in terms of thinking and concerns which the investor mentioned, what is the future of the country? where does it stand with the international community?
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these are common questions which are asked in any other normal society especially in the region. this is a very positive sign. the situation may be floated, there are definite positive signs and i experienced them when i visited last year. it was a different afghanistan that i visited five or six years ago. >> most of the trend lines are positive. the ones that you can detect using empirical data. i'm not sure that the trend lines of american policy are quite so positive. there is an interaction between the two. to end with a few other statistics, the situation has
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changed since 2001. today 4/5 of afghan households have [indiscernible] three-lf have tv's and quarters of afghan households have telephones. the statistics, for radius they may have been fairly high. for tvs and telephones they would have been zero. there connected with each other and with the rest of the world in ways that are completely different from where they were 10 years ago. on balance that is positive. >> m. e. thank the panel, each of whom has been positive in terms of a thoughtful and useful presentation. we appreciate it. thank you for coming and we're
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concluded. thank you very much. [applause] >> afghanistan president hamid karzai is in washington beginning today for meetings at the pentagon, the state department, on capitol hill, and at the white house. a joint news conference is likely. on friday he will be speaking at georgetown university about u.s.-afghan relations. we will have coverage of his comments at 5:03 p.m. eastern. in washington, hilda solis resigned say she plans to return to california. she is expected to run for a seat on the los angeles county
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board of supervisors. the president put out a statement saying over the last four years, she has been a critical member of my economic team and we have work to recover from the worst economic downturn since the great depression. part of the statement from president obama on the resignation of hilda solis as labor secretary. we have been covering a number of state of the state addresses. another one this evening, virginia gov. bob mcdonnell and his state of the commonwealth address. he announced a plan that would provide $3.10 billion in transportation funding, replacing the state gasoline tax with a sales tax increase. that is live in an hour-and-a- half. tonight, the 100th birthday anniversary gala taking place in washington for former president richard nixon. we will hear remarks from his daughters as well as former nixon administration secretary of state, henry kissinger. that will be live tonight at
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8:30 p.m. eastern and over and c-span2. next, today's white house briefing with chick party who talked about the debt ceiling. he did not confirm news reports nomination for treasury secretary. earlier today from the white house. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for being here. i have an important personnel announcement to make. i am kidding. i will go to the ap. >> it has been widely reported that jack lew was the president's choice for commerce secretary. -- treasury secretary. [inaudible]
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>> let me say two things. i do not make cabinet level presences. the president does. i will not get ahead of the president. when he is ready to make an announcement about his next treasury secretary, he will make an announcement. secondly i would say jack lew has been and continues to be an extremely valuable adviser to the president. over the quarter of a century he has been an integral part of some of the most important budgetary, financial and fiscal agreements in washington. he was there when social security was reformed, he was there when tax reform passed at
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the table. in the 1980's. he was the cabinet level director of omb for president clinton. when our budget was balanced for the first time in a generation. he served as deputy secretary of state. he has served as omb director, overseeing some important agreements and planning a major role in achieving them. that was for more than a year. he's been a very capable chief of staff. i thought i would say that about jack. i work with him every day. he is an exceptional public servant. >> how does the president do the role of the treasury secretary in the second term? person will have a different set of obstacles and challenges then
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secretary geithner had. is there an infosys on fiscal policy? -- an emphasis on this policy? >> without speaking to any announcements, the president sets policy. his advisers and cabinet secretaries carry it out. the fact of the matter is secretary geithner has over his four years in office and at the helm of the treasury department through remarkable period of challenge and change that included the economic crisis but also negotiating a series of agreements with congress that strengthened the middle class been aided economic growth and help job creation and certainly as you know because the president spoke about it all the
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time, economic growth and job creation continued to be the president's top domestic priorities. all the members of his economic team will be focused on those priorities. >> a group of house democrats [inaudible] this came up last year and you said the president had the power to ignore the debt ceiling. i'm wondering given the president's insistence he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling this time around, is the white house considering revising that issue [inaudible] >> our position on the 14th amendment has not changed. let's be clear. congress has the responsibility and the authority to raise the debt ceiling. congress must do its job.
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it is important as we approach the deadline that people understand we're talking about. sometimes the language of the use in the phrases we use make this a lot more mysterious for average folks out there that needs to be. raising the debt ceiling is authorizing congress to pay the bills it has racked up. this is not about future spending. this is about you going to the store and charging some goods on your credit card. you pay the bill. the byner states has always paid its bills. congress has the responsibility
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and authority to do that. the president will not negotiate over it. let me go to reuters. jack lew was [inaudible] he worked for a group [inaudible] what that not raise flags for any treasury secretary? >> you are trying get me to about an announcement the president has not made. i will leave it to the president to announce his next treasury secretary. his record has and continues to be stellar. he is that rare person in washington has been here for years, who has done some very
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hard things and brokered some serious bipartisan agreements and then it in a way that has earned the admiration of almost everyone he has worked with. the presidents he observed. >> -- he has worked with. >> the president is meeting with the national rifle association later this week. the group has been very influential in politics and has been effective at preventing previous efforts to control the spread of guns in this country. what is his message going to be to them? and what is the white house strategy in dealing with them? >> the president believes in the wake of the incident at newtown, that we must as a nation examine
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every possible action we could take to reduce this terrible surge of gun violence. as you heard him say, is our first responsibility to ensure that our children are safe and what newtown barack home is we need to do more to ensure they are safe. he once you're through the efforts that he assigned to the vice-president from stakeholders of all kinds and that includes gun owners and organizations that represent gun owners. he hopes and the vice president hopes that these organizations will bring constructive ideas to the table. that is the purpose of the effort of the vice-president is leading. as you know, he had some important meetings today. he has more meetings coming up, including the one you mentioned, and he is in the process of
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putting together a series of recommendations that the president will consider and once the president has decided on the path for that he will promote, he will i am sure make that known to you. >> is there any deadline for coming up with those recommendations? >> the president himself mentioned he had hoped to hear from the effort led by the vice- president this month. >> is there any low hanging fruit? the vice-president mentioned executive actions you could take unilaterally. >> i will not get into specifics because i will not get ahead of the president or vice-president but also the process is ongoing. decisions have not been made. you heard what the vice president said earlier and that represents an area where action is possible. legislative action is part of this. the president has called on congress to act on an assault weapons ban, to act on a band of
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high capacity ammunition clips and to confirm an atf director and to close the loopholes in our background check system. these are things that congress can do and should do and the president has called on congress to do this things but there are other things that need to be done. i will not get ahead of the press is here. as the president has said, his looking at the dess broadly. not just in terms of the things that can be done legislatively and not just in the terms of things that can be done through executive action. >> on gun control, what is the area of action on the second batch in the white house would consider? >> i will not get into specifics because i will not get ahead of the president and vice- president. those decisions have not been made. >> there are some limitations as to what the president can do on his own.
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as a background checks? >> i am not going to get ahead of the president and vice- president. the process is being led by the vice president. background checks is something we have discussed in terms of legislative action. there is a variety of ideas that have been put forward publicly and the vice president's group is listening to a lot of these groups and hearing their ideas. it is a to the vice-president and the president to decide what combination of things he wants to proceed with and i will let him make that announcement. >> mayor bloomberg has said that with the stroke of a pen the president could do certain things but others have raised concerns there may be lawsuits. >> we look at all consequences of actions that could be taken including consequences of promoting legislation in
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congress and other kinds of things. that is a broad assessment i am making. i do not know the specifics that you are mayor bloomberg might be reviewing -- referring to. or people who have concerns about what the response could be to some kinds of actions. that is speculative until we know what the president will put forward. >> [inaudible] i have seen reports and i can say that as part of this effort, we invited a broad array of groups and individuals to participate in these meetings and conversations and welcome the participation of everyone who accepts those invitations. it is important that we hear from the stakeholders. the vice president and his team look forward to all the meetings their behalf. >> the speaker of the house has made it clear he is willing to
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increase the debt ceiling. given that you're saying the white house will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, are you willing to accept that principle? >> the president has been very clear his absolute principle is we need to reduce our deficit in a balanced way that does not shift all the burden troop cuts exclusively on senior citizens. on families who have disabled children, families were trying to send their kids to school. that is unacceptable. one of the things we learned in the process we went through last year is when it comes to specificity, we never saw any specificity from republicans in terms of how they would achieve the kind of sweeping cuts they say they want.
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and from home with the demand that payment and what the president has been clear about is he will not negotiate. it is congress's responsibility to pay its bills. he will negotiate and is willing to compromise as his demonstrated repeatedly when it comes to moving forward in a balanced way to reduce the deficit. we have to do with the sequester. we have to deal with a variety of budgetary and economic and fiscal challenges. he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. the threat itself is a problem. as we saw in the summer of 2011, the binary choice that republicans want to present, either we have medicare and social security or we take a global economy. i would think selling that would be very hard. >> you will not negotiate on this issue.
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they put out the principles of the produce something and they say they will. the cuts a dollar for every dollar increase and you're saying -- >> having seen that? >> this is what they say they're going to do going forward. >> words and actions. there has been very little specificity since the ricin plan which was lacking in specifics. if the position is we're going to a voucherize the -- here's the thing. congress has the authority to authorize money, right? not the president. contract of these bills. congress has to pay these bills. we're interested in a discussion and negotiation about getting our fiscal house in order. this president has signed into law over $2 trillion in deficit- reduction. he is eager to do more in a
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balanced way. it is not appropriate to in this president's view to say if i do not get what what i'm not going to raise the debt limit. that is saying i will abandon the history of the united states, maintaining the full faith and credit of its currency and its treasury for refusing to pay bills because i did not get what want publicly and it is not acceptable to the president. negotiate.t going to congress has a responsibility if congress wants to give the president the responsibility he would take it. as we saw when i in 2010, there have been so many of these confrontations. when the so-called mcconnell plan was adopted. bayside themselves this responsibility. the fact that the assigned it to
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them is something they have to deal with. they need to act and without drama or delay, raise the debt ceiling. there is plenty of opportunity outside of threatening the full faith and credit of the united states to debate fundamental differences over or economic and fiscal policy proposals. it is not wise to do that around raising the debt ceiling. not right -- wise to do it around the principle that we pare debts. >> if i could ask about chuck hegel, one of the things he raised was the comments that he made about james hormel who came under fire by anti-gay groups. i am wondering, he made those
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comments 15 years ago and did not apologize for them until a month ago when it was clear he was in the running to be the secretary of defense. why that kind of delay? does she have to explain this comments -- does he have to explain his comments? >> he regretted them and they do not represent the totality of his use. -- his views. i would point you to the statement he made. and he will have -- senators will have an opportunity through the confirmation process, as they do traditionally and routinely, to ask him questions about his views on issues. the secretary of defense -- senator hagel, when he is confirmed, as we hope he will be -- carries out the president's policies. and i think the president's policies on lgbt issues are both commendable, supported by the
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lgbt community, and will continue to be the policies of this administration as long as president obama is in office. so, again, i think you've seen what senator hagel said about this, and the president is very confident that senator hagel will be confirmed and that he will be an excellent secretary of defense and will implement all of the president's policies with regards to the defense department. let me move around here. chuck. >> following up on debt ceiling, i know your position hasn't changed on the 14th amendment. do you guys have a position on this trillion-dollar coin business? >> i would simply go back to what i said. the option here is for congress to do its job and pay its bills -- bills that have already been racked up.
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we saw what happened last summer, the summer of 2011, when congress flirted with the idea of default, didn't even go all the way to default and yet the impact on our economy was severe, the impact on average americans was severe. we had the lowest job creation in the month of august of 2011 of any month during the recovery, and the reason is because of what house republicans did that summer. now, we can't do that again. so let's not even pretend that that's an okay scenario. let's just ask congress -- >> but you have gladly ruled out -- on the 14th amendment, you finally said you do not believe you have that power via the 14th amendment. do you believe you have this power to mint a trillion-dollar coin? >> look, there is no plan b. there is no backup plan. there is congress's responsibility to pay the bills of the united states. this is not about future spending. we will have that debate. we will continue to have the debate about how we -- the budgets that we design and the path forward in deficit reduction. and the president's principles
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in this matter are very clear. there is no alternative to congress raising the debt ceiling. it's its responsibility. congress has to pay the bills of the united states. that is an obligation they assigned to themselves. >> it's a little evasive in your answer. i understand. but i mean, are you trying to leave room? >> -- never be true. >> are you trying to leave room or not leave room? >> look, there is no substitute for congress extending the borrowing authority of the united states. >> but you believe this is an option? viable, unviable? >> i think the only option here that there is no backup plan. the only option is for congress to do its job. >> will you totally rule it out? >> you could speculate about a lot of things, but there is -- nothing needs to come to these kinds of speculative notions about how to deal with a problem that is easily resolved by congress doing its job, very simply. and then coming back and having the discussion and conversation and negotiation and debate about how we continue to bring down our debt in a way that's responsible, in a way that allows our economy to grow, in a way that protects the middle
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class, in a way that continues the 54 months of job creation that we've had during this recovery -- that's the conversation and the debate and the negotiation that is correct to have. that's the conversation and negotiation and debate that the american people expect us to have. they don't expect washington -- and in this case, congress, and really in this case, one house of congress -- to do enormous harm to the economy for partisan reasons. >> i wonder if today on the front page of the new york times, on the photo of the senior staff with the president, when the new york times caption says, "try to find valerie jarrett," whether the president was embarrassed that here was a picture of his supposed senior staff and you could not see a visible woman. >> well, first of all, as you know, and i would point you the content of the story as opposed to the headline or the
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photograph, the president's senior staff here is well -- women are well represented in the president's senior staff here. two of the three deputies -- deputy chiefs of staff are women. the white house counsel is a woman. a woman runs homeland security for this country, secretary napolitano. there are -- the cabinet secretary in charge of the most important piece of domestic policy legislation in a generation is a woman, kathleen sebelius. and, again, i would point you to the new york times story itself that makes the point that the white house staff here is 50/50 in its analysis. and as i said, including valerie jarrett, women serve in key policy roles here within the white house as they do throughout the administration and that includes, i forgot to mention, director of domestic policy, cecilia muñoz and chief of staff for the first lady, tina tchen; white house personnel director, nancy hogan. and i think it's -- again, this
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president is committed to diversity. and look at the record; it is a vast improvement -- >> well, let's talk about diversity, though. let's look at the "big four." he's about to do -- >> these stories are in reaction to -- >> state department, defense department, treasury, although i know you're not -- >> right, but these stories are in reaction to a couple of appointments. i think it would be useful to wait and make judgments about this issue after the president has made the totality of appointments that he will make in the transition to a second term. >> when you look at a cabinet, there is the "big four" that it's always been accepted -- i'm just asking you -- >> the secretary of state was a woman and the one -- the person we've nominated is a man. that's the issue here. >> is there any sort of -- >> janet napolitano is the secretary of homeland security, a cabinet-level position. the u.n. ambassador -- the u.s. ambassador to the united nations is susan rice. and, again, i could go through
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the list. this president has appointed -- has made two appointments to the supreme court, both of them women. and i think that his commitment to -- >> you think it's an unfair charge? >> well, i think that the record speaks for itself, and certainly, that photograph is not reflective of the diversity within the white house staff or within the broader administration. and i think, again, i would urge everyone who only got to the headline of the photograph to read the story, because the story documents that the comparative here with not just president bush and the increase in the representation of women in senior positions is dramatic; it's consistent with or greater than president clinton's staff as well. and when it comes to judges, 47 percent of president obama's confirmed judges -- and we have an issue with confirmation here with senate as you know -- but the 47 percent of those who have been confirmed have been women compared to 22 percent for president george w. bush and 29 percent for president clinton. so i think the record here
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speaks for itself. >> so when you say that totality that there is going to be some other cabinet appointments it sounds like in the next, say, couple of months. >> well, i have no personnel announcements. >> i understand that, but is it fair to say that after all that's done that there is -- that diversity is taken into account? >> well, i've answered this question a couple of times this week, and the president believes that diversity is important because it -- having diversity increases the excellence of the pool of advisors around you, the pool of the staff that you have here. and i think that's been demonstrated by the kinds of -- the degree of talent that he has around him now and has had around him in the first term, and i think it will be true in the second term. yes, major. >> can you tell the house democrats who believe the president ought to use the 14th amendment and should use it why they are wrong? >> we answered this question at the time. i just said, again, we just don't believe that it provides the authority that some believe it does. but the point here is, because of a resistance to the reality that congress has a
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responsibility to pay the bills that it has racked up, we should not be pursuing these kinds of options. congress should simply do its job. the american people are tired of this sort of approach to governance. i mean, i think we've seen some polls recently that demonstrate that. it is time for congress to get back to doing the business that the people elected them to do. >> on that point, some in the house republican conference suggested an incremental approach -- two months, three months, short durations to extend the debt limit. is that something the white house, since it is not going to negotiate, comfortable with? >> again, i'm not going to get into specifics, but the idea that we should play this game every month? you think that's -- this is the united states of america, right? the idea that we would send the message around the world and around the country that we're going to have a debate about whether we should default every
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month or every two months, i think that would be extremely harmful to the economy, extremely harmful to the middle class in this country. so as we said in the past, that's -- you're trying to negotiate with me and i won't do that. that sounds like a terrible the whole principle here, major, is that he will not negotiate. so you're -- and i won't either over the debt ceiling. congress -- >> im just asking about ideas that are being discussed. >> well, right, but thats a negotiating position over something that we're not going to negotiate over. congress needs to do its job. >> ok. on gun control -- those who support what the president has already asked congress to do consider that a rather aggressive agenda and they're not even sure that that could get through congress -- the four things you've mentioned, okay? thats their sort of premise. is the biden group looking at things that would be beyond those already identified gun control initiatives and goals of this administration on gun control specifically, meaning
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an agenda that would even be broader than one those who are experienced in the trenches of this kind of battle perceive as difficult enough as it is? >> the president has made clear that he would like to see congressional action on the four items that i mentioned. i do not have a preview for you of other actions that the president may or may not push -- either congressional action or other kinds. i will let him -- the vice president first, and then the president make those decisions and announce them. >> and because these things can be subject to all sorts of interpretation -- they already are on the web -- when the vice president talked about executive orders, is that in a context specifically related to gun control, or other issues that he is looking at in this context? >> i don't have an elaboration for you. i would just point to what the vice president said. and i think it reflects the general approach the president is taking, which is to look at every way we can, both here in washington and beyond, to address the problem that i
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think we all acknowledge we have. when six- and seven-year-olds are gunned down in their own school, theres a problem here that we need to address. and its not just a gun control problem. it goes beyond that, as the president has said. and that's why the effort the vice president is leading is looking at the totality of the problem and a broad array of actions that could be taken to help address the problem. and it is a difficult problem. and it is difficult to -- on this issue and has been traditionally -- difficult to get things done. and i acknowledge that part of your question. but as the president said, we can't simply not try because its hard. the problem is too important. and so youll hear more from him when hes ready to make some decisions. mike, then john. >> jay, on the gun issue, are
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there plans for the president to drop by any of these meetings with stakeholders to perhaps go face-to-face with some of these different groups that are coming in to meet with the vice president? >> well, hes asked the vice president to lead this effort. so i can't preclude that possibility, but i wouldnt necessarily expect it. nothing like that is planned. the president, obviously in the array of conversations he has with elected officials from around the country and other people, discusses this issue and has in recent weeks. but in terms of these specific meetings i don't necessarily anticipate that he would drop by. i wouldnt rule it out. >> i was just wondering if he might personally convey a message to the movie industry or the video game folks to say, hey -- >> again, i don't have any -- i don't anticipate that he will be dropping by any meetings. of course, that could change if he so decides. he obviously has conversations separate from the meetings that the vice president is leading, and talks about these issues and many others when he has those conversations. >> briefly on the debt ceiling, you guys say youre not going
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to negotiate; the republicans are saying got to cut. how are we not heading for another washington-created cliff of some sort? >> well, here are the facts: we have to raise the debt ceiling. leader mcconnell and speaker boehner have said that in the past, that its inconceivable that we would default. and that's one issue, and that is an issue that is congresss responsibility, and they need to fulfill their responsibility and make sure that the united states of america, as it has throughout its existence, pays its bills. separately, we continue to have challenges embodied in one instance by the sequester that we need to resolve in concert with congress. and the need to do that presents an opportunity to in a
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balanced way achieve further significant deficit reduction. the president, as you know, twice now has pursued a big deal with speaker boehner that in its totality would have achieved over $4 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade. because of the nature of those negotiations and the inability of the speaker to, in the end, reach a compromise with the president, we have found ourselves needing to take sort of smaller steps in pursuit of that overall goal. but the goal remains one that the president believes is the right one. and he hopes that in dealing with our further budgetary and fiscal challenges that he will be able to reach an agreement with congress to further reduce our deficit in a balanced way, and to most importantly -- because deficit reduction is not a goal -- a worthy goal
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unto itself; this is all about making our economy stronger and making it more productive and allowing it to create even more jobs. i mean, that is the most important thing when it comes to economic policy as far as the president is concerned. >> if were down to the last moment, have you guys researched a way of bypassing this process? >> well, thats another way of asking questions about amendments and coins and articles. and, again, there are no plan bs here -- and i know that plan b is kind of a bad phrase these days. but the fact of the matter is this is a simple process. congress assigned itself the responsibility of raising the debt ceiling, and this is about past spending, not future spending. it is about paying our bills. and congress has that responsibility, congress needs to fulfill it. i did say john. yes. yes, sir. >> thank you, jay. happy new year. >> and to you. >> you talked about plans without specificity. a number of the freshman republicans that i talked to
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actually talked about dusting off the simpson-bowles plan and introducing it as legislation. i believe that the freshman congressman, steve stockman of texas, said he was actually going to proceed in that course. whats the administrations reaction -- >> the position the president continues to have on the commission that he created was that it provided a very important framework to move forward on deficit reduction. i dont know -- i trust your reporting about the interest of some house republicans in putting that forward. id be interested to hear what chairman ryan has to say about it since he sat on the simpson-bowles commission, as did i believe other house republicans, and they all voted no. so it is important to remember -- and i think a lot of people when they talk about the commission that the president set up, that that commission called for significantly higher revenues than the president has called for and significantly deeper defense cuts than the president called for; and,
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actually, in the first 10 years, fewer savings from entitlement programs than the president has called for. so when you get into the details of it, you have to wonder whether or not support from republicans would really be there; it certainly wasnt there when the commission was taking its votes. >> thanks, jay. forgive me if its already been asked, but it was on my mind since i saw it last night. has the president seen zero dark thirty yet? i know hes seen lincoln and hes meeting with the 1600 penn folks. has he actually seen zero dark thirty yet and with whom? whats his reaction? >> i dont know. i havent asked him if hes seen it or not. so i dont know his reaction. >> so can i revisit then the not-negotiating question just to beat a dead horse? to further beat the already dead horse. are you saying that -- or would you say that rob nabors, gene
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sperling, jack lew, whoever replaces jack lew -- none of these people will now go to the hill to talk debt ceiling? are you saying that biden will not meet with mcconnell to talk debt ceiling? are you saying that the president will not invite leaders from both chambers of congress to the white house to talk debt ceiling? >> yes. we will not negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. as the president said, he has demonstrated repeatedly that he is willing to compromise when it comes to moving forward with deficit reduction. we obviously because of the sequester and the cr and other issues have economic, budgetary, and fiscal challenges that we need to confront, and that requires discussion and negotiation with congress. but he will not negotiate over the fundamental responsibility that only congress has to raise the debt ceiling. and if that is a responsibility that is just too onerous for them to bear, they should pass it off to the president as they did previously. he will not negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. this is not -- were not going
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to play a hostage-situation game where the economy of the united states and the world suffers because of an insistence on a political agenda by one party and one house of congress -- or one party in both houses of congress. >> so if none of those things happens, and then -- so it's kind of a game of chicken -- and then if congress doesnt blink and you're not going to do the 14th amendment and you're probably not going to do a trillion-dollar coin -- >> there are so many ifs here that i'm having trouble following you. i'm probably not going to answer. >> just summarizing -- so doesnt that mean that he's betting that congress will raise the debt ceiling? i mean, otherwise, what are your options? go over the cliff -- >> the president believes it's congress's responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. he hopes that congress will exercise that responsibility without drama or delay.
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he understands that there are further issues that we need to work with congress on when it comes to getting our fiscal house in order, but they have to be separate from their responsibility to pay bills that congress has already racked up. i like to do this because i was around when it happened, but it is instructive to remember, when we're talking about who's responsible when it comes to getting our fiscal house in order and reducing our deficits -- and you can look at the graphs here about when deficits went up and when they went down, and they went up in the 80s and they went down after president clinton took office. they went up again from surpluses to massive deficits under president bush. we had an economic financial crisis the likes of which none of us in this room have ever experienced. that obviously exacerbated our deficits. and then, since then they've been coming down under president obama. he is very serious about responsible deficit reduction.
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he has signed into law significant deficit reduction already. but he insists that we do it in a balanced way because he does not believe it is fair to ask only some sectors of the population -- seniors, children who have disabled parents, kids who are just trying to go to college -- to bear the burden alone of the kinds of choices that we need to make. and so thats why he hopes to engage congress -- republicans and democrats alike -- in a process that leads to more deficit reduction that includes the kind of balance that was enshrined in the agreement recently reached over the fiscal cliff. >> in the past, when you've been asked what leverage he would have since he's not going to negotiate with them, you've pointed to the business community in the hopes that they would bring some pressure to bear on republicans.
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do you see that happening? are you satisfied -- >> well, i won't speak for the business community, but i would be surprised if they -- if anybody in the world of finance or business, in this country or anywhere, would welcome the prospect of default. >> well, thats not what i'm asking. of course, they wont want -- >> so i would certainly expect that they would -- i would hope that they would make that opinion known. >> well, i guess what i'm asking is, other than you just standing here day after day saying the president won't negotiate and all the reasons you're giving, other than that rhetorical effort, what else are you doing, can you do to make sure that congress lives up to the responsibility that you've outlined? >> well, we can't -- >> since you're not negotiating. >> because congress has retained for itself this responsibility and obligation, they have to act. if they want to pass it to a more willing actor, the president of the united states, he will gladly ensure that we do not default. but the fact of the matter is congress has that responsibility and congress has to act. we can't do it for them. >> right, youve said that. i mean -- >> right, but i'm not sure what you're saying. >> well, i'm asking since -- what else can you do, since youve ruled out negotiating, to bring pressure to bear on
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them? you do this all the time when you want something to happen. you call on outside actors. you try to get public opinion. other than just standing here over and over again saying you're not going to negotiate, what else is the white house doing to try to get them to pass the debt ceiling? >> i cannot see into the future up to the point where the debt ceiling might be reached, so i can't predict everything that we will do. but it is simple common sense that -- we hope -- that leaders in congress will not default and, in the end, they will do what is right, which is ensure that we do not default. in the meantime, we have other important issues to resolve with congress, other important fiscal and economic and budgetary issues to resolve with congress, and we can address those. but negotiating over raising the debt ceiling is not in the cards. mr. nakamura. >> getting back to the talks -- talking about a man everybody
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in washington is thinking about right now, did the president see the highlights, by any chance, of the game that ended robert griffin iiis season? did he express an opinion that youve heard about whether he should have been in the game? and whats your personal opinion as a redskins fan? >> you're trying to get me in trouble. i have not -- i know that the president, like so many sports fans, followed with interest the remarkable season that rgiii had. i have not had a discussion with him since that game about its terrible outcome. i did see in a -- yesterday somebody forwarded me a tweet from the onion, so i can't -- i'm not sure its true, but it did say that -- (laughter) -- that mike shanahan had cleared rgiii to carry furniture down some wet steps. >> were you watching the game, personally -- >> i did. >> -- or did you see the highlights? and when you did, what were your thoughts? i know you're a redskins fan. mr. >> it was painful to watch and -- >> yes, very painful. >> -- i'm not a football coach, but it sure seemed like, as remarkable a player as he is, he wasnt in a position to continue playing. just got myself in trouble with --
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>> more serious -- debt ceiling again. so last time, the white house was looking for a $1.2 trillion increase. how much of an increase would you like to see this time? not negotiating, but just how much would you like congress to increase that? >> as you know, in the process that we just went through over the so-called fiscal cliff, the president in good faith negotiated with -- or tried to -- with the speaker of the house, and in that process, lowered his target for revenue significantly, came, as they say, halfway towards the republicans between the $800 billion that speaker boehner was offering and the $1.6 trillion that the president had initially requested. and that figure was $1.2 trillion. something very important occurred, which is the fiscal cliff deal, which ensured that higher-income americans would see their income tax top rate
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return to the levels of the clinton era and, through that, a significant amount of revenue has been achieved. but it is not enough now, any more than it was when we talked about the reason for achieving enough revenue -- $1.2 trillion -- in order to allow for the essential balance that would combine with spending cuts and savings from interest and the like -- would allow for that $4 trillion deficit reduction over 10 years. so it remains our position, and the president spoke about this, that we need to, going forward in deficit reduction, achieve it through a balance of both revenues and spending cuts. and i don't have specific figures for you, but our position is what it was. >> syria? >> yes, syria. >> thanks, jay. after theyve all seen president assad delusional speech on sunday, and today u.n. envoy brahimi actually for the
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first time he said that its a lost opportunity and there is no political process after this speech. so it seems that after two months, things look even worse than ever before. whats your step forward from this point? >> well, ill say a few things. the speech by bashar al-assad was, indeed, evidence of how delusional he is. the proposal he made was nothing more than a desperate attempt to cling to power, and it would only allow the regime to continue its oppression and killing of the syrian people. the momentum in syria is with opposition forces and with the syrian people. it is clear that as defections continue -- and weve seen a number of them -- and the regime continues to lose control of territory, that assad cannot restore his control of syria.
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the future in syria does not and will not include bashar al-assad. he has lost all legitimacy, as we have said, and he must step aside to enable a political solution that ends the bloodshed and suffering, and meets the aspirations of the syrian people. the united states will continue its support for the geneva action groups framework, which was endorsed by the five permanent members of the u.n. security council, the arab league, and the u.n. general assembly. and we will continue our efforts in support of joint special representative brahimi to build international support for the geneva framework, and urge all parties in syria to take steps toward its implementation, to help expedite an end to the
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suffering of the syrian people and to bring about the day when syria and the syrian people can decide -- or the syrian people, rather, can decide their future for themselves. >> basically, you summarized what you have been doing for the last two years, actually. many argue that something else needs to be done, such as arming the rebels. and the fact that you talk about the rebels continuing to gain power on the ground is being done mostly led by abushar front or other groups that your government has been saying -- labeled as terrorist organizations. >> well, i think its a good point to make our point, which is that our position regarding lethal support has not changed. we are not providing it. as we have said, we continue to take a hard look at every feasible policy option to evaluate whether or not doing so would advance our goal of hastening an end to the violence and supporting political transition in syria. in other words, we look at all feasible options and evaluate them based on whether or not we believe that goal would be achieved. we firmly believe that a political solution led by the syrian people and supported by the international community is the best chance for a stable and democratic syria.
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we do not believe at this point that providing arms will promote a political solution. and i would argue to you, on your first point, about our policy. we have, over time, ramped up our assistance to the syrian people through humanitarian aid. we have ramped up our non-lethal assistance to the syrian opposition. we have, as you know, recognized the syrian transitional group as the legitimate representative of the syrian people. these are steps that demonstrate movement in our policy towards further isolating assad, further isolating the regime, assisting the opposition. but we do not believe at this point that providing lethal assistance is the right
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policy. yes, and then donovan. >> there are supporters of immigration reform that are worried that the administrations efforts on gun violence are now going to push off immigration reform. you had talked -- or the administration had talked about something post-inauguration. im wondering if that timetable still stands, or what the commitment is. >> well, i don't believe ive given a specific time frame. i would point you to the presidents commitment to do it early in his -- to take action on immigration reform early in his second term. but beyond that, i wont be specific. but i can assure you that it is a top priority of this president, and it is something he will act on, as he has promised. >> can we expect to hear about that in the state of the union or the inaugural address? >> well, i would say, broadly speaking, that state of the union addresses tend to include at least a sample of a presidents agenda, and immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform, is a very high priority of the presidents. but i don't want to get ahead of the speech.
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>> there have been reports in recent days about cyber attacks by iran, one report quoting a security expert as saying there's no doubt within the u.s. government that these attacks on the banking sector, including what they call denial-of-service attacks, come from iran. has that come to the presidents attention, or can you talk generally -- >> i don't know whether that report has. i don't have anything on it for you. you might direct that question to the treasury department. donovan. >> i want to follow up on the nra. is there a belief the nra will still be a hurdle to new gun legislation? and if so, how does the president plan to go about getting around that in congress? >> i don't want to and the president doesnt want to prejudge the actions of organizations or groups who are stakeholders in this discussion. he hopes that in the aftermath of newtown that we are in a place that appropriate action,
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both legislatively and through other means, can be taken and will be supported broadly. you certainly have seen, when it comes to a number of the measures that the proposed legislation represent, that there is broad support publicly for those kinds of actions, and broad support among gun owners, broad support among members of the very organization that you mention. so well have to see what happens as the process moves forward. the president will certainly push for passage of the legislation that he supports. but obviously congress has to act when it comes to legislation, and we all as a nation need to make sure our voices are heard when it comes to our position on the kinds of measures, sensible measures, we can take to address this problem. >> so should we expect an outreach to the american people, a new hashtag, maybe? >> i wont get ahead of the process here, but the president
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is committed, as he has said, to taking action and he looks forward to the recommendations from the vice president. yes, laura, and then chris. >> just to follow up on syria. each day all over the world there are a lot of reports about syrians killed -- between 40,000 to 60,000 syrians are killed. you dont feel you have a moral obligation to stop whats happening in syria? >> laura, as weve discussed repeatedly, we find bashar al-assads attacks on his own people, the mass killing of his own people to be abhorrent. the actions he has taken ensure his place in history as a tyrant with an enormous amount of blood on his hands, syrian blood. and we have, with our international partners, taken significant action to isolate assad, to put pressure on
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assad, to help the opposition against assad unify, to provide humanitarian relief to the syrian people, and we are working every day with our international partners, and unilaterally, to help bring about the day when assad and his tyranny are no longer. and i take your point that the situation in syria is terrible, and responsibility for that situation belongs to the man who claims that he represents the people hes killing. chris. >> the website thinkprogress is reporting that pastor louie giglio, who president obama asked to deliver his inaugural benediction, held vehemently anti-gay views in the 1990s. in a recording attributed to him from that time, giglio advocated for a wildly discredited ex-gay therapy, references a biblical passage often attributed to require gay people to be executed, and impels christians to firmly respond to the aggressive agenda and prevent the homosexual lifestyle from becoming adapted in society.
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does the white house have a problem with obamas inaugural pastor holding those views? >> i havent seen that report. i would refer you to the inaugural committee. i havent seen the report. >> so its fair to say that the administration was not aware of these -- >> im just saying that i havent seen the report. >> this is breaking days after the president nominated chuck hagel and, as you acknowledged, he had made those 1998 anti-gay comments against jim hormel. is there some kind of statute of limitations on when someone can make anti-gay remarks and still be deemed acceptable by the administration? and if so -- >> i think ive addressed the question about senator hagel. and i would simply point you to president obamas record on lgbt issues as representative of his beliefs and convictions, his policies and where he believes this country is moving and where he hopes to lead it. >> jay, can i clarify one question? >> i'll try. >> i heard you unequivocally rule out using the 14th amendment on the debt ceiling. i heard you unequivocally rule out negotiating with congress. but you did not rule out this trillion-dollar coin idea. so can i ask you just a yes or
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no question -- does the white house rule out the idea of minting trillion-dollar coins as a way of dealing with the debt ceiling? >> i would refer you to treasury for the specifics of this question. i can tell you that the president does not believe that there is a backup plan or a plan b or an off ramp. the only viable option here is congress to fulfill its -- is that congress fulfills its responsibility and ensures that the united states of america pay its bills, as it has always paid its bills throughout its history. >> but why will you rule out the 14th amendment and not rule out the trillion-dollar coin idea? >> again, i can tell you that there are no backup plans, there are no plan bs. i refer you to the treasury for -- >> but, jay, thats the thing -- you are leaving this -- it may be the tiniest of openings, but why would you do that -- >> i'm just saying i dont have analysis here of every idea thats thrown out. i can tell you that the president -- >> is somebody back there trying to figure this out? >> again -- not that i know
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of. but since treasury, i believe, oversees printing and minting, you might ask treasury. the president's belief is that congress needs to do its job. congress needs to pay the bills that congress racked up. and we can continue to negotiate and debate over the important economic budgetary and fiscal challenges that we face within the context of our budgets and our sequester and all the issues that confront us. but it is not acceptable to this president, and therefore he will not negotiate over the prospect of default. congress needs to do its job. >> that's a long answer to a yes or no question. mr. >> again, i think i answered it thoroughly, at length, with great detail. i have no coins in my pocket.
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>> in about a half an hour governor bob mcdonnell delivers his state of the common wealth address. the package includes replacing the state gasoline tax with a state tax increase. we'll have that at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> i am joined by the oklahoma
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governor. we are here to deliver this first state of the states address from the n.g.a. and to talk about our collective priorities as we go into what will be an unprecedented congress. i do want to take a moment to recognize somebody who is here with us this morning. as governors our relationship with our state's national guard forces is just incredibly important. the national guard is a vital resource in emergency response and in addition to its role as a homeland defense force, the national guard also serves as an operational force on overseas missions alongside the nation's active duty forces. we are honored to be joined today by the chief of the national guard bureau. so general, thank you so much for being here and thank you for the very important work
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that you do. so, through the nga we identified priorities for the states and we find common ground we are bipartisan, and it should come as no surprise how much we could accomplish when we work together. as you will hear today, governors and federal partners have been successful in crafting the command structure so the states can respond in times of natural disaster. we also worked to build a national communications network, in gauging the on issues ranging from transportation to education, to preserving the capabilities of our national guard. while each governor has his or her own unique circumstances, we all have to facilitate job
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growth, improve schools, and be financially responsible. as much as we do in our states, our economies are tightly linked to the national economy, and as a result, our state's prosperity, the prosperity of our citizen depends in no small measure on the ability of all public servants in washington to come together on a path forward. uncertainty here in federal support hurts both our economies and the federal budget, and the implications are incredibly important. governors have been working with the president, the vice president, and congressional leadership to find solutions to help put our country back on firm financial footing. one of the largest elements of the uncertainty concerned
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elements of the fiscal cliff that were either postponed or taken out of the reason -- recent relief act of 2012 as the only postponed reducing grants to states. intimate reform was not addressed, and no action was taken regarding the federal debt limit. if the debt limit does not increase soon, there will be disruptions to capital spending and markets that could greatly impact state operations. until there are resolved, states can not make financial plans that will address the needs of our citizens. state economies are slowly recovering, and many places are just now returning to the revenue that we collected in 2008. during the last five years, governors have cut $337 billion
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from our state budgets. we streamlined our work. in some cases we stopped doing things altogether. for example, we consolidated agencies, improved delivery systems, and in some cases we closed outdated facilities. we continue to aggressively managed our liabilities, including around our pension system, and certainly around the ever-growing cost of health care. sometimes, that is not enough. we have had to curtail benefits. some states reduced workforces. in total, the actions we have taken and made states more productive, more efficient, but at times our people have suffered, and, of course, we cannot afford to wait when it comes to moving the needle on jobs and businesses. we governors are keenly aware
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of the obstacles job-seekers face every day and much of our effort is focused on removing these obstacles. for example, there are 40 separate federal programs that focus of providing workforce services, especially around employment and occupational skills. we want programs to continue, but we also want more flexibility to implement more state-based systems, work-based systems that would be better to -- able to respond to the needs of job-seekers and business. each governor wants to be the jobs governor, and importantly, we want to be the jobs governor for everybody in our state, and that includes returning veterans, a group where a partnership between state and federal government could be especially helpful. it also includes be the jobs governor for people in our states with disabilities. we want them to engage and
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participate fully in community life. i have chosen to focus my nga chair initiative with the ways states could help people with disabilities find more employment opportunities. this initiative is called a better bottom line. it is designed to raise awareness of the untapped talent of people with disabilities, and how would can contribute to the bottom line, and finding ways states and businesses can partner. as governors, we also very much appreciate how important step of the art roads, bridges, telecommunications, wastewater -- other infrastructure is to our nation put the economy.
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governors have taken a lead role advocating for infrastructure investments at a time when our investments in this country are falling way behind the infrastructure investments in so many other countries, and that is why it is important that the nation that detects tax-exempt financing for infrastructure, and the deductibility of state and local taxes which provide critical support to infrastructure projects. many of us have used innovative financing tools to be private/public partners, to help mitigate the public funding shortfalls in to shore up some of our infrastructure. it is really important that we have long-term federal funding stability. some of these infrastructure projects are long term.
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we also support the investments in its the structure project through existing and maybe some self-sustaining mechanisms. the issue of uncertainty around the federal tax code is also a big concern. the reform. it could have an impact on states. we have had a taxable -- task force headed up by the governor of pennsylvania and the governor of kentucky, and they will develop concrete suggestions, consisted of where the interest of the state and federal governments intersect. it will also address longstanding tax policies such as the need to allow states to essentially level the playing
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field between main street, retailers, and online sellers when it comes to sales taxes. treating the ball the same is an issue of fairness that congress can and should resolve. and-in-hand with job creation comes education. every governor has an important role to play in what is the most important future-oriented investments that we make, and that is around education. across the country, governors are insuring efforts to students, insuring they can
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always see the world class education that will prepare them for success. today 49 states and territories have voluntarily adopted a common core standards. these are high standards that are consistent across states. they provide clear expectations that everyone can work for together. most importantly, it is a foundation that we can build on to ensure that our students are well prepared with the skills and knowledge at they need to compete with the very best of the best from around the world. states and schools are working to implement new standards, upgrade training in standards, and you institute some of the initiatives under race to the top. nga has a role to ensure that some of the things we learned our shared with other states and the federal government. with that, i'm going to ask governor markell -- fallin to talk about some other state priorities. >> thank you very much,
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governor markell. it is a pleasure to be here. we appreciate your leadership. it has been a great pleasure to work with you. i'm here to talk to you about the nga and the critical issues facing our states. as governor markell has pointed out, we think states are the laboratories of democracy that can be on the front line of helping to develop policies, been able to solve some of our nation's most pressing issues, whether it involves economic growth, job creation, education, focusing on government waste, and many other issues, but to provide these solutions we need room to be able to reform our state policies and objectives.
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the federal government can and should be a partner in helping us to develop good public policy. a strong partnerships is vital to best serve all citizens of the nation. we call the flexible federalism. -- recall that flexible federalism. you know what i mean. the letters are -- governors are committed to a collaboration with congress and the administration to maintain and promote a balanced system. just last month, governor markell and i joined president obama to outline what flexible federalism will look like. the effort deserves to be front and center, because how washington deals with those issues will have an immediate, direct affect on our states and
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our budget. 30 of the 50 states that we have have had job growth, and we have been able to get to pre-recession levels. oklahoma has been one of those states to experienced job growth. we have now come from seventh% unemployment to 5.2%, one of the highest job growth rates in the nation, but i have to tell you, it was not easy. if -- we have to make good policy and shared sacrifice.
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as president and congress will address sequestration, we know as governors that spending cuts will be necessary and inevitable, as are the tough decisions they have to make, but we also asked the president, congress in leaders to keep four points in mind. first is federal reform should produce savings for the federal government and the states. deficit reduction should not be accomplished by merely shifting those costs down to our states, or imposing unfunded mandates. states should be given increased flexibility to create efficiencies and achieve results. lastly, congress should not impose maintenance of effort provisions of states as a condition of receiving federal funding. in other words, it states receive federal cuts, washington should not demand the same level of service without providing the same level of funding.
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essentially, all of these points can and will be coming down to flexibility and partnership. we need the flexibility to take care of the unique needs of our citizens and the challenges of our states. what we do not need is a one-size-fits-all solution or more unfunded federal mandates passed on to our states. the need to be treated as partners, not underlings. we want to work to implement good public policy. as we told congressional leaders, reducing the deficit by shifting costs to the state is not indicative of the good partnership. whether it is deficit reduction or other pressing national issues, we feel the two principles will guide these relationships with the federal government and the state.
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the principles are the flexibility and the partnership. i will give you a couple of examples. take health care, for instance. health care in this costs remain a critical challenge to the country. medicaid remains one of our biggest budget issues for many of our states, requiring more stephen federal funding when you combine the two than education in our budgets. in 2011, total medicaid spending increased at an unsustainable rate of over 10%, and in response states are currently creating and exploring ways that we can look at reforms for expanding reforms and also for financing and delivering health care. we would like to see the administration to embrace innovation at the state-level by speeding up the consideration of waivers, and looking on the more favorably
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as we present those to the administration. unfortunately, many states have found the waiver process can be very long, difficult and time-consuming to prepare. in my state of oklahoma, for instance, we have had a long term waiver we have used in our state to develop a program that best meets our needs called insured oklahoma, of partnership between the state and the federal government, between the employer and the employee to provide affordable insurance to low-income, working oklahomans. it has helped. tens of thousands have received access. unfortunately, we received words that insure oklahoma and the waiver could be in jeopardy, putting the long-term sustainability of our highly successful program in question. as a governor in oklahoma, i want to work with the administration to preserve the
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program, and as the vice chair of the nga i want to encourage states to look at ways to innovate, and create better public policy. we believe states have a great deal of potential to change the delivery of health care and medicaid and that the states are the vehicle for that change. to help navigate the various complexities of our health care policy, the nga as work together as a group to unveil a brand new web site called state health policy options, where we as governors can look at what other states are doing the best practices, what works and what does not work. i want to encourage our federal governors to take advantage of that website. the site is a virtual resource center that will make it easier to explore potential solutions on health care problems.
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the website also provides policymakers with expert analysis and best practices adopted in states that are working to improve health care access, affordability and quality. we believe this will be a great opportunity to show off the constructive policy states can pursue if we are given the freedom and flexibility to do so. on the health-care fund, governors are also tackling one of the fastest growing drug problems of the century, and that is the abuse of prescription drugs. initiative, chaired by the governor of alabama seeks to develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to reduce prescription drug abuse across seven participating states. the lessons learned from this initiative and its conclusion
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will be shared with each state, helping us to showcase effective policy to treat addiction, enforce the law, and better protect against prescription drug abuse from experts. i hope i have made it clear -- at it is. i hope i have made it clear that the states and the nga can be significant partner in health care and deficit reduction, but we are also partner in one of our greatest priorities to the national security. governors remained committed to the members of our armed services, especially the men and women of all or national guard, who play a critical role in responding to emergencies at home, and suddenly fighting alongside active military men and women overseas. at the end of october we saw a hurricane on the east coast
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that provided a major test for dual status command that we have been able to negotiate through our national governors' association. if these commanders are typically national guard officers that have been trained to commend. but the reports are that the the arrangement has worked well, and improved responsiveness. nearly 12,000 national guard men and women from 21 states responded to that crisis, and how to save lives and protect homes and businesses along the -- helped to save lives, and protect homes and businesses along the east coast's -- east coast. we'll continue to work with the department of defense and congress to better leverage our national guard, cost-effectiveness, and the high level of experience, was also preserving the military capacity for our nation. of course, the safety and security of our citizens is crucial.
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as congress indeed administration examine alternatives to the current package of federal grants, governors will work to insure the first responders are equipped with the tools they need to accomplish life-saying missions. the nation has begun development of one of these critical tools by providing sufficient radio spectrum needed for the construction of a broadband network for public safety communications. the nga was instrumental in a critical legislation that will play a strong role in the parliament, and means -- in the development and maintenance of this network. this will help first responders develop the most reliable condition capacity in our nation. in addition, governors are looking that the growth of cyber terrorism, and the
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attacks and threats our nation faces. we think is important to include a critical infrastructure as they begin to look at ways to protect our nation. nga recently created the resource center led by the governor of maryland, martin o'malley, and the governor of michigan, rick schneider. it is examining the role public policy can and should play in insuring adequate cyber security for state-owned and state-based infrastructure, and that includes services like looking at our data, communication systems, our banking systems, water systems, electrical grids, and water energy companies. we are working with policymakers and representatives from private industries and institutions to
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affectively and strategically identify and address cyber security policy issues within the states. finally, i want to talk for a moment about the energy and energy security. i am proud to say that my state of oklahoma, working along with democratic governor from colorado, has teamed up with 22 other states to work for the conversion of our state automobile fleets from traditional gas-powered vehicles and trucks to natural gas vehicles. we -- when we come by all of our state's purchasing power we were able to let a national bid which has driven down the price of cng-powered vehicles by thousands of dollars, making the vehicles more affordable for state budgets and the private sector. each automobile has the potential to save $20,000 in
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fuel costs, freeing up resources for priorities like education and health care. just as important, our initiative supports the production of american-made natural gas and the creation of american jobs, which will once again benefit our local economies and help our state budgets. it is stage for the ability to increase -- it sets the stage, excuse me, for the ability to increase national -- natural gas is the structure and fueling stations, and it supports a very important fuel source for our nation to help us to be able to become more energy independent as a nation. so, as you can tell, we are thinking very big, and governors are thinking very big. we are optimistic about our states, and the role that they play in making our nation more prosperous.
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we believe if we are given the flexibility, and if we are able to have a partnership in making good public policy,, then we can all work together with the state and federal governments to be able to benefit all americans in finding solutions to problems and challenges that our nation faces. that is a message of hope as we move into 2013. i want to say thank you to all of you for being here, and governor markell, thank you for your leadership, and all you have done to bring together the governors and the public and the private sector to have this important discussion. thank you very much.
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>> thank you, governor fallin, and we would be pleased to take questions from members of the media. >> microphone coming to you. >> one is sure you did the mentioned is gun control. can you tell me how the figures into the government -- governor's agenda? >> it will work to leave for different governors, but i can tell you we will be thinking about it in delaware, in reaction to the awful tragedy in connecticut, and two years ago i might of been the only governor to introduce the legislation. i introduced four bills. three of them were passed aired at this point, my view is there
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are three pieces. one has to do with access to mental health, something we've been focused on for some time, increasing access to medical health in our state. the second is around school security. we actually kicked off last year a robust process to make sure that every school has a good safety plan. in our state, for a long time, every school has been required to have the safety plan, but the quality has been very, so we kicked off the idea of every school having a plan focused and not just making sure that teachers and other school based personnel are prepared to be the first act is, but to also make sure the first responders know what the layout of the school looks like before they get there. the third piece has to do with guns. in the next few days, i will be rolling out initiatives around all three of those, but i think
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it is less likely that nga as an organization will have been initiative, but we do appreciate the initiative -- initiation by the white house who has invited all governors. we appreciate that aldrich. -- outreach. >> thank you, governor. the nga has not taken an official position on this issue. our hearts and prayers go up to those that suffered tremendously from the horrific shootings that have happened in our schools and other facilities across our nation. we in the state of oklahoma have taken steps to encourage our local schools to pull out their emergency plans, to have
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drills, to not let those plans gather dust on the shelf, and to update those plans in working with our mental health director in state of oklahoma to look at our sources in our state, to make sure our funding match is our priorities. we have been able to do some work in crisis intervention itself. as a governor we have had some rehearsals with my own cabinet and gone through some emergency response and prepared this as a cabinet to make sure everything is functioning at a level it should be functioning. for me speaking personally, was certainly due respect our second amendment rights.
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>> what can you say in terms of immigration reform? >> it is very much a federal issue. it seems more likely than ever that something may get taken up. i think that a number of governors would say the idea of making it easier for folks who have come here from elsewhere to get their education may want to stay here and add jobs here. we ought to make that easier for them. >> it is a big debate around a lot of issues. we look forward to working with the administration. >> all of this later in our scheduled end -- and in our video library at c-span.org. governor bob mcdonnell is set to give his state of the commonwealth address. this is a day after the governor
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now supplant that would provide $3.10 billion in transportation funding for virginia over the next five years. live coverage here on c-span. [applause] [applause]
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>> thank you very much. thank you. please be seated. as speaker of the house of delegates, it is my pleasure to present to his excellency, the governor of the commonwealth of virginia, governor robert .rancis mcdonalnell [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much.
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thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for that warm welcome, and welcome back. mr. speaker, mr. president, the justices of the supreme court of virginia, ladies and gentlemen of the general assembly and my fellow virginians, tonight, we gather in mr. jefferson's capital for the annual state of the commonwealth address. the virginia general assembly has met in this billing now for 220 years. the speaker was a young boy during that first session. [laughter] next door, the executive mansion is the oldest continuously occupied governor's mansion in all of the nation. this year, we markets 200th anniversary. i want to thank the first lady
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and all of her team for promoting -- for their work in promoting this extraordinary history. thank you maureen, and all my family, for being here tonight. [applause] tonight, we can been surrounded by our legislative history that started way back in 1690, ready to do our part to create a more perfect union, and to cement a strong foundation for virginia citizens. we must be determined to create more jobs and new opportunities for the attainment of the american dream for the people of virginia. they sent us here to work together on their behalf, and to find solutions for the challenges that they face in their daily life. they sent us here to do legislatively what they do personally in their homes, their
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businesses, their churches, and schools. that is to act responsibly, to spend wisely, to solve problems, to serve on another, and to make life a little better for those people around us. we don't have to look very far for inspiration from our brave and caring people here in virginia. on october 30, as hurricane sandy'whats rose swiftly, national guard soldiers trudge through high water to clear a path to transport seven adults and a child out of harm's way. another rescue required guardsmen to carry a citizen 200 yards through chest-high water to safety. virginia national guard personnel rescued 42 citizens during those few days of hurricane sandy. joining us here tonight or lieutenant james breckinridge
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and norman malone, who helped lead some of these rescue missions, along with the adjutant general of virginia. we salute you for your great service to virginia. thank you very much. [applause] i am delighted to say that with the return from soldiers from afghanistan this summer, all virginia national guard units were home for christmas for the first time since september 11, 2001. [applause]
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during these 11 years of the global war on terror, more than 15,000 deployments of national guard soldiers and airmen were made, mobilize for combat operations and other missions around the world. since 9/11, we have lost 10 of our fellow citizens, 10 virginia guardsmen, to hostile enemy activity. our national guard is recognized as among the best in the nation. they served us all very well. that same heroic service id replicated every day here at home by our men and women in law enforcement. in march of 2001, sheriff's deputies responded to a suspected robbery, only to find a sniper lying in deadly wait. the shootout that followed, two
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of them are killed. the deputy had rushed to the scene from his front yard, where he was putting together a new swing set for his grandchildren. it was a project that would remain unfinished. two other deputies were shot and severely injured in that ambush. tonight, deputy resnik and us.ty chargcharles are here wih gentlemen, we thank you and all of virginia is brave law enforcement officers for your courage and your commitment to the safety and the freedom of the people of virginia. [applause]
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ladies and gentlemen, over the past three years, we have worked together for the common good, with passion, stability, and a focus on getting results. we have worked hard together to create good jobs and to build a common wealth of opportunity. in january 2010, the unemployment rate was 7.3%. today, it is 5.6%. the second lowest east of the mississippi and the lowest in the southeast. during that time, virginia has created 160,000 jobs, mostly in
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the private sector. in 2011, we hit our all-time high record for agricultural exports, at $2.35 billion, bolstering virginia's largest industry. together we put in place a stronger environment in which the private sector can create good paying jobs, and virginia is now outperforming its neighboring states. we have also worked hard together to get our fiscal house in order. three years ago, together we closed a budget shortfall of $6 billion without raising taxes. the results were good. we have had three consecutive budget surpluses totaling $1.40 billion. we more than doubled the rainy day fund. we gave two three% performance bonuses to our great state employees. we have maintained virginia aaa
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bond rating while the federal government was losing theirs. we bolstered agency efficiency. we eliminated and consolidated dozens of boards and commissions and agencies and programs to save money. we set priorities and cut spending. in the last three years, i have recommended and you have accepted cuts and reallocations of spending of more than a billion dollars, and i thank you for that. we have made government live within its means. we put the most defunding into transportation since 1986 and stayed within zero or five%, self-imposed debt limit. in 2011, we started over 900 projects in virginia. as of august, a record $14 billion in profits are now under construction.
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including the downtown-midtown tunnel project. we just restarted the amtrak passenger rail service from norfolk for the first time in 35 years. last session, we reformed and stabilize the virginia retirement system that hundreds of thousands of our fellow virginians rely on for their retirement security. all california and illinois and other states were marching toward pension insolvency, we put the most new funding into the system in the history of virginia. we have reduced the unfunded liability by $9 billion by 2031. moody's praised our reform of credit, and i want to thank senator watkins and delegate jones for their work in making that happen last session. our 2011 plan marked top jobs legislation has made the college
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bream more affordable and more accessible for more young people in virginia. our whole statutory goal of 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years, with a focus on degrees is supported by $350 million of new investment that you agreed to make of the next three years. the best part of these reforms are working, because over the last two years, we have had over 3800 new slots for undergraduate, in-state students. best of all, tuition increases averaged only 4% this year after a decade of double-digit tuition increases. that is good news for our young people. [applause] i am sure you agree, more diplomas' means more jobs. we increased the percentage of k-12 funding going into the classroom to 64%, heading to
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65%. graduation rates are up, dropout rates are now at the lowest level in a very long time. they have fallen more than 25% in the last five years. last session we ended social promotion to the fourth grade for our young people that cannot read well. there are now more stem teachers and more programs and less bureaucracy in our schools. we are also making good on our progress to clean up the chesapeake bay, and meeting our goals under the watershed implementation plan that i signed a couple of years ago. in 2011, are major waste-water facility exceeded pollution reduction goals by more than 2000% for nitrogen and more than a corporate jet more than 450% 4 phosphorus -- more than 450% 4
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bosphorus. we rank second in the nation for reducing nitrogen pollution in the chesapeake bay. thank you, job well done. [applause] but the news is better. the blue crab population is now at a near 20-year high, and 66% greater than it was just a year ago. tonight, i hope you'll join me in a reception featuring virginia crabs and oysters, to literally taste a little bit of our collective success. our committees are getting safer. the violent crime rate is lower than at any time since the early 1960's, the lowest in the south, and the fifth lowest in the nation. the property crime rate is the lowest in the nation and the eighth lowest nationally. tough punishment and no parole
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actually works. our adult recidivism rate has fallen to one of the lowest rates in all of america. we passed tough new laws to combat -- combat domestic abuse, drug driving, and last year requiring the past the most significant reforms in over a decade to punish repeat drug dealers and child sex offenders. i want to thank the senator and delegate for their leadership in this. second, we dramatically increased our prison reentry system. most offenders will be back out on the street. what we want is more good citizens and less returning prisoners. tonight, i am pleased to announce that our administration has now restored the civil rights of more virginians than any other administration in the history of virginia. [applause]
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here is the plan. here in virginia, in the cradle of democracy, we enact policies that actually work. in washington, we see debt, taxes, delays, blank, and this function. but here in virginia, we see results, solutions, job growth, surpluses, and cooperation. what a difference 9 miles can make. -- 90 miles can make. virginia is ranked as america's most livable state and the best day in which to make a living. i think you will know that every
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other major national business publications puts virginia in the top three best states in which to do business. while that is all good, there are many areas of believe we must play a much stronger foundation for the future of our commonwealth. this session, i am asking you to work with me to get a few big things done that i believe will create more jobs and more opportunities for our people. when you leave here on time, in 45 days, i want to be able to report to our citizens that our schools are on the way to being the most challenging, innovative, council, an excellent in all the world. [applause]
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and secondly that you have made game changing reforms and investments in transportation. if a young person does not graduate from high school or do not graduate, rear or college ready, then here is the top news. you have failed, i have failed, but worst of all, they have failed. ultimately, regardless of the code, all students must have world-class education opportunities. -- regardless of the zip code. that is the only way we will continue to recruit world-class companies like those that have come to virginia. they all require highly educated, highly motivated employees. here is a brutal fact. when it comes to educating our young people, america is slipping.
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while virginia schools break well nationally, according to the program for international student assessment, the u.s. now ranks 14th in reading. 17th in science, and 25th in mathematics. that is not acceptable. those are not grades we want to put on the national refrigerator. the time for action is now. i want to thank delegate kirk thompson and the chairman of the all student campaign. they have created a number of proposals i will announce this year. it starts with the idea that great students and schools make great citizens. a great teacher, like my sister, makes all the difference in the world in the life of a young person. we need to recruit, retain, and reward excellent teachers, and then treat them like the professionals that they are. [applause]
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first i am proposing giving teachers their first state- supported pay raise since 2007, and my budget limits provide $58 million for a 2% pay raise. the education fairness act will streamline the bureaucratic grievance procedure to benefit both teachers and principals. we will extend the probationary period from three years to five years and require a satisfactory performance rating, as demonstrated through the new performance evaluation system. good teachers will flourish. poor ones will not. i want to thank the majority leader and delegate for their leadership on that bill. students in virginia are falling
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behind in mastering the disciplines that are critical for progress and success in the global economy. that is why i am asking you this year to approve funding to support new teachers to teach math and science, technology and engineering in our middle and high schools. we need to make sure that the very best teachers in every subject have incentives to xl. i am proposing $50 million for school districts to reward their high performing educators. this strategic compensation plan is based on a model that has been developed here in virginia and replicated throughout the country. the program will be implemented through local guidelines. i want to thank center ballgirl
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for being the champion -- senator vogel for being a champion of this initiative. i am proposing legislation to start the successful teach for america program here in the commonwealth. since 1990, teach for america has placed 28,000 exceptional graduates into some of the nation's most daunting school systems. all over america, the program works, but not here in virginia. there are almost 300 teach for america graduates now that are from virginia, and i want them to be able to teach right here at home in the commonwealth. i am also asking you to approve an abutment -- approve a budget amendment and fully fund the state share of staffing standards for blind and visually
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impaired students in virginia, once and for all. [applause] i also propose a new method to obtain waivers from bureaucracy, putting initiative this and expanding education and youth development programs in our schools. parents need to know more about what is going on in their kids' school. that is key to success. they need to know also how well their child's school exactly working. i believe we should grade schools just like we grade students. i am proposing a school ranking scale to empower parents and students and teachers so they
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can demand excellence in the schools. this new grading transparency will allow us to hold schools more accountable for their performance. even in a state like virginia that has a very good public education system, some students are trapped in schools that are underperforming or not accredited, and that is unacceptable, and it must end now. so i propose that we equip low performing schools with a turnaround specialist and additional resources from the state and private sector. if they got those resources and have not improved, then a change has to be made. we need to have a zero tolerance policy for failing schools here in virginia. so i am asking you to approve this year a bold new initiative
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to establish a statewide opportunity education institution to provide a have kuala predict a high quality of -- educational alternatives for a student attending a chronically underperforming schools in virginia. this opportunity will be new statewide school division to turn around schools that are not performing well. if the school is consistently failing, the institutional step in to manage it. if the school has failed for two years or more, the institution can take it over and provide a brand new management system to a broken school, and that will make a change in that school for those young people. i want to thank senator mcdougal for his leadership on this bill. this is a model that has worked national. louisiana, tennessee have created recovery and achievement
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districts, and the results are positive. many view, and need our secretary on a trip to louisiana and you saw it in person and know it works -- many of you accompanied our secretary. psst we don't have any other option. failing schools will not be tolerated in virginia. i can tell you as the parent of five children that are with us tonight, all of whom have graduated from good virginia public schools, we must raise the bar and beat in tolerant of failure. we must continue to bring more innovation and more choices to the public-school system. excellent education demands having the courage to try new things and to be innovative. public charter schools have done well nationally to help bring options to our most underserved communities. the charter schools can increase flexibility and innovation and
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offer a wider range of educational experience. we have approved new taurus school laws, but we have not done enough. pennsylvania had 164 new charter schools. virginia had four. we have one of the weakest charter school laws in all the country. the best public charter school offered in the nation will not come to virginia because we have made it virtually impossible for them to get started here. we need new charter school walls that demand excellence, set clear standards, and welcome the best charter schools into our communities. i am asking you to join me to pass a constitutional amendment to allow the state board of education to authorize charter applications here in our state. [applause]
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i am also asking for your support for similar legislation to eliminate the requirement that local school boards at the local level was first applied for authorization from the state board of elections. let the localities have that choice. these ideas taken together will make it much easier to prove charter school to open here in virginia. better schools mean better jobs and a stronger virginia. we must also led the foundation for a stronger virginia by at modernizing our transportation infrastructure system. the money we directed to transportation in 2011 was the most in a generation. it is a good start, but it is is short term solution. you can see the $14 million in projects under way and all the construction jobs that have now been created. but the long-term infrastructure
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solutions have not been found yet. today, the main this deficit for education is down from two years ago. it will be $500 million more again in just five years. instead of construction dollars going to build roads, what is happening now is those dollars are going to pay them -- to paving and pot holes. the gas tax is worth 45% of the purchasing power it was in 1987. all asphalt has gone up 350%. increasing fuel-efficient see and the rise of alternative fuel projects alternative fuel vehicles are further chipping away at the purchasing power of the gasoline tax. the texas transportation institute brent washington, d.c and northern virginia the most congested region in the country in 2011. and hampton roads is not far behind. cnbc drop us from first to third
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in the nation in our business rankings, due to our inadequate transportation funding system. so we must reform and reinvest in transportation infrastructure, or job growth and kirk -- quality family time will suffer. therefore, i am asking this session, please do not leave without approving a long-term transportation funding plan for virginia. and please do not send me a budget that does not include transportation funding. we are out of excuses. the time to act is now. yesterday i announced a plan to invest an additional $3.10 billion in virginia transportation networks over the next five years. a plan that will provide new funding annually by the year 2018. i want to thank the speaker and
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senator newman for taking the lead on these initiatives and others that will join charlie. the plan includes increasing virginia transportation share of the existing sales tax to .75% phased in over the next five years. for 2014, the amount is $49 billion. if we cannot allocate 0.3 of 1% of virginia's existing revenues for transportation, then we are just not serious about fixing the transportation problem. with a half billion dollars in surpluses and revenue growth of 5%, and ongoing savings strategies in place, i submit that it is absolutely wrong to say that we cannot afford a small amount of projected general fund revenue for transportation in our state.
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i propose dedicating a little over $300 million of that money to build a metro road project. that will build -- that will be a start. the rest of the revenues will go to put more money into construction. the plan have suggested will eliminate virginias 17.5 since per gallon tax on gasoline and replace it with a. 08% increase in the sales and use tax that will not tax gasoline. we will be the first day in the nation to eliminate the gas tax, which is projected to be in a long-term stay a decline. over the next five years, this common sense change will provide over $600 million more from organic, economic growth, not from tax increases.
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we will maintain the tax on diesel fuel because 68% of that fuel is consumed by out-of-state truckers. trucks comprise four 0.2% of the road miles traveled the cost of to 80% of our maintenance needs. these policies taken together will generate $500 million for year by fy 2018. every new dollar you invest and maintenance equates to an additional dollar freed up for construction. the total impact will lead to $1.80 billion in new construction spending over the next five years. demand for new and improved transit and intercity passenger rail also continues to grow here in virginia. as new services come online, and the federal mandates of
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passenger rail investment are committed, we must provide additional revenue. the plan i propose includes some other funding mechanisms. first, a $15 increase in the motor vehicle registration fee and $100 alternative fuel vehicles feet. it will provide over $100 million in additional revenue to fund transit and passenger rail. i am a strong supporter of alternative fuel vehicles and i think many of you are as well. i have directed the state through executive order to convert all of our state vehicle fleet to natural gas, to save money and help clean the environment. these vehicles generate very little federal gas tax revenue. therefore, the small fee will help them pay their share of the funds to maintain and improve our roads. the only, the plan i propose to
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you will dedicate the majority of the anticipated revenue from the expected passage of the marketplace equity act pending in congress to transportation. these are existing revenues that virginia should already collects. there is broad bipartisan support for this measure in congress and we are very hopeful it will pass this year. so i recommend the remainder of the new revenues from the marketplace equity act to be dedicated to public education and local governments, consistent with our current sales tax distribution formula. i know there are parts of this plan you like and parts of the plan you will not like. that is true of any innovative and comprehensive transportation plan. but we cannot let another session be lost as each member holds out for their view of the
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perfect plan. the more we sit and debate, the logger virginians sit and wait. so i expect to sign a transportation funding plan this year. better transportation means better jobs. [applause] we can further strengthen our business climate by passing some common sense is this liability reforms. there are a number of common- sense measures that will ease the burden on the job creators and create more certainty for small businesses in virginia. this is an important initiative. i also ask that to strengthen our commitment to make college more affordable and more accessible by increasing our
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grant program from $2,800 to $3,100 for virginia students. this will benefit over 21,000 virginia is going to private colleges. i am recommending an additional $31 million for public colleges and universities on top of what has been dedicated the last couple of years, to continue to add more slots for in-state virginia students to bring tuition increases down further. [applause] i have asked specifically already for our presidents and board of visitors members to further increase their operating efficiency so that in 2013, they will keep increases for in-state students to know more than the consumer price index to help lower student debt
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here in virginia. we must prepare now for the unprecedented uncertainty that is being created in washington d.c. our focus on cash reserves does just that. a recent report which looked at health status or position for the future said this about virginia. compared to other states, virginia does not have a structural budget problem. virginia manages its debt carefully. virginias fiscal management and institutions are stronger than most. that is good, but we no changes are coming from washington d.c., and they will test us. i want to thank the leadership of the chairman for things they
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have done to help manage the budget process the last few years. the problem in washington is real. we are $16 trillion in debt. we added four dollars trillion with the vote on new year's day -- $4 trillion. there is no bipartisan will to cut spending and reform entitlements. the fiscal cliff was kicked down the road. decades of over promising and overspending have led to an embarrassing situation of fiscal irresponsibility. but the problem is, of virginia is uniquely vulnerable because of our high proportion of federal workers and defense spending. given the unresolved, in washington, i propose a number of measures. we should add another $50 million to more than double our rainy day fund to nearly $740 million by the end of this
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fiscal year. i ask that to bolster our federal contingency fund to address the negative impact. the economic downturn has made it difficult for our counties and cities. some of the policies we passed up here have made it worse. that is why i am proposing $45 million to eliminate the awkward policy of localities writing checks back to the state at the end of the fiscal year. the cost of medicaid in our budget has grown 1600% in the last 30 years. now consumes 21% of the total general fund. va simply cannot afford to become the bank for a federally designed expansion of medicaid.
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obama said in 2009, as we move forward on health reform, it is not sufficient for us to simply add more people to medicare or medicaid to increase coverage in the absence of cost controls and reform. another web putting it is, we cannot simply put more people into a broken system that does not work. he was right. the federal government must promptly authorize real, innovative, state run medicaid reform to allow us at the state level to run and manage our programs better. without dramatic reform, i cannot recommend dramatic expansion in medicaid. health benefit exchanges i believe or a bad idea. the federal mandate in that bill will increase the cost of insurance for most virginians and will crowd out other opportunities in the insurance
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industry. the ongoing failure of the federal government to provide a clear and cogent guidance and regulation has made it impossible bought october 13 -- pike october 2013. we will not operate a state based exchange that gives upside financial risk. it is not good for virginia. during the process, we'll continue to work to ensure that virginia maintains her traditional regulation of our own insurance market. we will continue to press forward with our own health reform. we have allocated $3 million to facilitate bold reform through the center through health
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innovation. soon our state health insurance plan will offer employees an opportunity to improve their own health a lower-cost through a leading consumer driven health- care program. i think, like all virginians, maureen and i were shocked at the tragic news that came out of sandy hook elementary school a month ago. 26 people, including 20 precious, beautiful young children, were senselessly killed. while some evil acts can never fully be understood by us, we must be prepared to do everything we can to prevent them. i am proposing a targeted the mental help fund. i ask you to approve $5 million for specific adult and child
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crisis services and an additional $1 million for children's mental health services. i am opposing $750,000 of the budget to assist in discharging individuals from state hospitals who are ready for that transition home in a safe way. i am sure you'll agree that caring for our fellow virginians who have help predict mental- health issues is an expression of who we are as a people and as society. i have established a task force that i have appointed today to review all security policies in effect in our schools and colleges, and to make recommendations to me by january 31. i anticipate sending legislation to be able to improve school and campus safety for our young people. [applause] we must also better care for
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children in our society who are in need a permit homes with loving care. joining us tonight are jeff and andy williams. they cannot have children of their own. they knew there were wonderful, loving children out there just waiting for a good home with loving parents. so they adopted two foster care children. one is now 20, and the other is here with us tonight. [applause] i want to thank you for being model adoptive parents. leona, i expect to see you down
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here delivering your own state of the commonwealth speech here in about 30 years. [applause] tonight i am asking you to join with me in ensuring that more little girls like leona get great parents like jeff and a ngie. there are 1100 foster care children currently awaiting adoption. i have provided money to provide for roughly 1000 families to adopt foster care children. this will help more young children find the loving homes and loving parents that they need. i want to thank secretary janet kelly for her leadership in bringing this to my attention. i am also saying to you today that we owe our children a clean
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environment and a clean chesapeake bay. i am proposing a $200 million water quality improvement bond issue that will provide over $100 billion for much-needed waste water treatment plant upgrades, and $35 million for urban storm water projects in multiple municipalities all over the state. the budget surplus will provide an additional $17 million for projects that are proving successful around the state. partly because i am concerned about the number of oysters you may consume later tonight, i am also asking that you approve 2.5 borrows million for the marine resources commission for targeted oyster restoration projects. i believe it will be the largest single oyster restoration project in the history of virginia. while we have significantly
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improved and fast tracked the restoration of civil rights, it is still an executive process. as a nation, and for me as a governor who believes in redemption and second chances, and helping people that make mistakes, i think is good time we provide a clear path for willing individuals who want to become productive members of society once they have served their sentences and have paid their fines and restitution and their debt to society. i think is good time for virginia to join most of the other states in the country and make the restoration of civil rights an automatic process for nonviolent offenders in our state. [applause]
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this session, delegates have introduced bills to address this issue. i urge your support for legislation that creates an automatic restoration of rights process for nonviolent felons. production of programs again this year, as well as legislation to streamline and simplify the state procurements process to help small business owners succeed. we have done an awful lot of working together and we will do a lot more in this session. the unemployment rate is down. more virginians are going to college and tuition increases have fallen sharply. transportation projects are under way. the pension system is more
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stable. we haven't had three straight budget surpluses. i believe all that represents the very best of what we have come to know around here as the virginia way. we continue to help middle-class families and build a commonwealth of opportunity for all of our people. i hope that is why you are here. if you live in virginia, every year is a campaign year. what we accomplished in this building for our people is so much more important than any political campaign. if politics comes effective governing, then we all lose. -- trumps effective governing. we will all be remembered for what we actually get done, not what we promised to do. you remember what our parents taught us, talk is cheap.
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the virginia way has been about fighting civilly for our principles, but also finding common ground. that has happened here for two centuries in mr. jefferson's capital. the challenges i lay out to you are clear. we need to reform and reinvest in transportation infrastructure. this session, let's do it. we need more innovation and accountability in our public school system to promote great teachers and grade schools to produce good citizens. this session, let's make it happen. we need for government and budget reforms to strengthen the commonwealth fiscal standing in the face of unprecedented uncertainty in washington. this session, let's enact it. we need more jobs and more access to the great american dream. it brought my grandfather here from ireland 100 years ago. this session, let's provide it. i am asking you to join me in
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continuing the time-honored virginia way of laying the foundation for virginias future. so thank you for your service to the people of virginia, and may god bless things remain on this great commonwealth of virginia. thank you, and god bless. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> tonight on c-span, the connecticut state of the state address, a discussion about
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afghanistan security after the withdrawal of coalition forces in 2014, and later, analysis of how the fiscal cliff deal will affect the defense department budget. in his annual state of the state address, the connecticut governor comments on the school shooting and proposals for stricter gun regulations. he also talks about the state budget and economy as well as hurricane center relief efforts. he begins with remarks by the lieutenant governor. this is a half hour. [applause]
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>> thank you. it is hard to believe that two years have passed since the governor i took office. this is the third time i've had the honor of introducing him to the general assembly. these two years have certainly brought their share of focus on the issues. there is no question that despite the many had winds we have faced, this governor has ended years of complacency and is moving connecticut forward again. our state is reinventing, reinvigorating itself on so many levels, whether our approach to securing economic growth, educate our children, or caring
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for the sick and the elderly. i look forward to working with him and all of you again this session to seek -- to get momentum going for the benefit of everyone who calls our state home. our state just went through and is still going through a tragedy that we never expected. i personally and privately thanked the governor for his work. those of you that were not in attendance, those of you who had not been on the ground in newtown do not understand the feelings of what happened or how the governor led. there are a lot of people that we have to thank, and i know the governor is going to do that. from the bottom of my heart, i thank them, but i've got to personally thank the governor

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